Whye Kee Foodstuff fined $17,700 for illegal trade effluent discharge into public sewers

Local food manufacturer Whye Kee Foodstuff Pte Ltd has been fined a total of $17,700 for illegally discharging trade effluent exceeding allowable limits into the public sewers on multiple occasions. The company, a repeat offender, was previously convicted for committing similar offences in May 2019 and fined a total of $14,400.

Most recently, Whye Kee Foodstuff was convicted of four charges of discharging effluent containing chemical substances exceeding allowable limits on 11 October 2019, with another six charges taken into consideration during sentencing. These offences were discovered during PUB’s site inspections at the company’s premise at Tai Seng Avenue between September and October 2019.

During one of the inspections, the trade effluent sample was found to have exceeded, by more than 120 times, the allowable limits for Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Total Suspended Solids and Chemical Oxygen Demand; and more than eight times for Oil and Grease (non-hydrocarbon). These substances were from the food waste produced by the company’s food manufacturing operations.

Excessive levels of these substances in the sewage can upset used water treatment processes at PUB’s water reclamation plants and also disrupt NEWater production. The company was charged under the Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent) Regulations for discharging trade effluent containing chemical substances exceeding allowable limits into the public sewer.

Investigations revealed that Whye Kee Foodstuff failed to put in place effective measures to prevent and remove excessive food waste generated from the food manufacturing processes from going into the sewers. In addition, the company did not pre-treat trade effluent to meet discharge limits as required under the Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent) Regulations. PUB had since revoked approval for the company to discharge trade effluent into sewers with effect from 4 May 2020. Consequently, the company has to engage appropriate waste collectors to collect its effluent for off-site disposal.

“Used water is a precious resource in Singapore and the integrity of our public sewerage system is crucial to PUB’s water reclamation process. Businesses and industries must take responsibility in ensuring their trade effluent meets PUB’s discharge standards to keep Singapore’s used water resources and sewerage network safe. PUB will not hesitate to prosecute companies which disregard these regulations and place repeat offenders under surveillance, where we will monitor their trade effluent discharge closely and step up the frequency of inspections at their premises,” said Mr Maurice Neo, Director of Water Reclamation Network.

Under the Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent) Regulations, the illegal discharge of trade effluent containing chemical substances exceeding the allowable limits carry a maximum fine of $5,000 to $15,000 for each offence.